ICCI Mentioned in NY Times Article about Community Organizers
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Pasted below is an op-ed from Sunday's New York Times that features Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. It was written by Deepak Bhargava, the executive director of the Center for Community Change. It addresses the recent national debate about what community organizers do and the responsibilities they have in terms of organizing everyday people to unite and stand up for what's right. It describes how this experience is important for a future president. This is significant visibility for community organizations and the work of community organizers.
September 14, 2008
NY Times Op-Ed Contributors
Are We Experienced?
By STEPHEN R. GRAY, DEEPAK BHARGAVA, LINCOLN D. CHAFEE, LIZ KRUEGER, TONY KNOWLES, GEORGE B. FITCH, LEO THORSNESS, NOAH FELDMAN and MARY KARR
Experience. In the 2008 presidential election, it's been a campaign slogan, a debating point and a subject of endless column inches and talk show hours. John McCain and Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Sarah Palin – whose life experiences offer the best preparation for the presidency and vice presidency? Does it help to be a naval aviator? A community organizer? A senator? A small-town mayor? Does one trump another? To answer those questions, the Op-Ed page asked people whose résumés overlap with the candidates' to explain how the qualities they've needed to draw on for their jobs and their lives would come in handy in the White House.
By DEEPAK BHARGAVA
What do community organizers do? Well, consider Hugh Espey, an organizer with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. On a typical day, he might help low-income residents of Des Moines organize to keep a neighborhood grocery store open or work with family farmers to persuade a state agency to deny a permit for a proposed factory farm, or meet with Mexican families in Marshalltown about ways to advance immigration reform. He brings various constituencies together to find common ground, build relationships and support each other's causes.
It's important to emphasize that organizers like Mr. Espey aren't there to solve people's problems for them – they're there to teach people how to help themselves: to learn how to speak in public, to run a meeting, or to hold their own in a negotiation with an employer, a landlord or a policy maker. Organizers teach people to work with – and challenge – politicians of every party.
How do they do this? Every effective organizer I've ever known has had this talent: the ability to listen to people, rather than spin them or demonize them. Organizers don't seek personal glory, they help other people lead and be recognized for that leadership.
Any president would do well to adhere to the community values, often rooted in religious faith, that inspire organizers. They believe that problems are best solved through cooperation, that every person is part of the American family and that no individual can do well while others are suffering. A president familiar with community organizing would seek out diverse views to formulate policy rooted in the realities of ordinary life. He would know how to build coalitions to overcome the entrenched interests that block progress.
Most important, a president with community organizing skills might engage ordinary Americans in the practice of democracy every day – not just at election time.
- DEEPAK BHARGAVA, the executive director of the Center for Community Change in Washington
Report: Palin tapped travel allowance at home
From Eric Bakker (Orginially from the AP).
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has charged her state a daily allowance,
normally used for official travel, for more than 300 nights spent at
her home, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
An analysis of travel statements filed by the governor, now John
McCain's Republican running mate, shows she claimed the per diem
allowance on 312 occasions when she was home in Wasilla and that she
billed taxpayers $43,490 for travel by her husband and children.
Per diem payments are meant for meals and incidental expenses while
traveling on state business. State officials told The Post her claims -
nearly $17,000 over 19 months – were permitted because her “duty
station” is Juneau, the capital, and she was in Wasilla 600 miles away.
Palin spends little time at the governor's mansion in Juneau,
especially when the Legislature if out of session, and instead prefers
to live in Wasilla and commute to her office in Anchorage.
Palin's spending and record in office are coming under intense scrutiny
as she is presented to the nation as a champion of ethics reform and
frugal use of tax dollars – a leader who put the state jet on sale on
eBay and drives herself to work.
The Post's analysis shows her husband Todd and their daughters were
reimbursed by taxpayers for many trips between Wasilla and Juneau as
well as for a variety of other travel that was also listed as state
business. Palin's aides said travel by Alaska's first family is part of
But it's not clear when children's travel expenses should be covered.
State finance director Kim Garnero told the paper the government covers
the travel costs of anyone conducting state business and, “I can't
imagine kids could be doing that.”
Palin took her daughter Bristol to New York in October for a conference
on women and leadership, a tour of the New York Stock Exchange and
various meetings, the analysis shows. Travel costs included three
nights in a hotel room costing more than $700 a night.
Overall, Palin's travel spending pales in comparison with that of
predecessor Frank Murkowski, who charged $463,000 for air fare in 2006.
Palin charged $93,000 in 2007.
Palin spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said Tuesday that the governor is
expected to travel frequently. “This is part of her job and it's only
reasonable her travel expenses – which were reduced dramatically from
the previous administration – would be covered,” Schmitt said.
ELECTION ’08: Scoring Secretary of State Seats for Dems
By Sarah Laskow, www.publicintegrity.org
Plagued by memories of Florida’s Katherine Harris and Ohio’s Ken
Blackwell, a little-known 527 group helped win secretary of state posts
for Democrats in five swing states during the last election cycle. Now
the group has its sights on four more.
The Secretary of State Project, which as a 527 non-profit group can
exert influence on elections, raised more than $500,000 in 2006 to
ensure no right-leaning secretary of state will swing the 2008
presidential election to the GOP, as they did in Florida in 2000 and
Ohio in 2004. So far the group has scored victories in Nevada, New
Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, and Ohio.
The SoS Project organizers formed the group “to
protect our elections from dirty Republican tricks,” according to the
group’s website. In many states, secretaries of state oversee voter
registration, election rules, voting machines, and recounts.
Positioning allies in these slots became a key strategy and a natural
Though disclosure forms do not capture the group’s involvement, the SoS
Project has generated huge financial support for the seven candidates
it supported last election season (the group backed losing candidates
in Colorado and Michigan). While $500,000 might not seem like much
compared to some of the figures being tossed around in national races,
that sort of money makes a huge difference in state races.
For instance, the SoS Project reports giving Jennifer Brunner $167,000
toward her race for Ohio’s secretary of state spot (when she won the
seat being vacated by Blackwell, the Democrats’ nemesis from the 2004
presidential race). That amount puts the group among the campaign’s top
three donors. According to its website, the group also contributed 10
percent of the campaign budget for Mary Herrera, who won the New Mexico
secretary of state race. The remaining money (around $300,000) was
dropped in contests where the largest donors were putting in just
Using ActBlue, an online fundraising tool for left-leaning activists,
the SoS Project raised, on average, $250 per donor. Major funding for
the group itself, however, came from some prominent Democratic
Analysis of state election data provided no apparent similar nationwide effort being made by Republicans.
Pro-Factory Farm EPC Member Resigns
Iowa CCI members urge Governor Culver to appoint replacement who will protect environment
Wednesday, September 10, 2008, Des Moines, Iowa – Ralph Klemme, an
Environmental Protection Commissioner who consistently voted against
protecting the environment and in favor of the factory farm industry,
resigned last week from the Environmental Protection Commission, a
nine-citizen DNR oversight panel appointed by the Governor. Klemme's
resignation followed landmark votes by the Commission in August to deny
two 7,440-head hog factories in Dallas County, which he voted to
approve. Klemme was recently quoted as saying he “didn't like the
direction the commission was going.”
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement members see this resignation as
a victory and an opportunity for Governor Culver to appoint a new
Commissioner to replace Klemme who will stand up for protecting Iowa's
environment. “Because of his poor voting record, I am pleased to hear
of Ralph Klemme's resignation. Now we need to make sure Governor Culver
will appoint someone who will stand up for clean air and clean water,”
said CCI member Kevin Shilling from Greenfield.
A former state legislator from LeMars, Klemme voted in May to approve a
large hog factory in Greene County that was overwhelmingly opposed by
local residents, county officials and local business leaders. He also
voted against a common-sense rule that would have limited the amount of
manure that factory farm owners could be spread on soybean crops.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a group of everyday people
who talk, act and get things done on issues that matter most. Please
contact the CCI office (phone: 515-282-0484, email:
email@example.com) if you have factory farms moving into your area
that your community does not want.
Police Citizens Review Board Forum – Sept. 16 – 7:30 PM – Civic Center
By Carolyn Dieterle
Voters approved the measure on the Fall 2007 City ballot to strengthen
the PCRB; and part of that amendment to the City Charter provides for a
forum at least once yearly to hear citizens' suggestions and desires
regarding police practices and policies. – and to hear complaints, if
For those who think, for example, that police priorities should be
changed to focus more on prevention of crimes that have victims (e.g.,
the assaults and robberies we have had lately) and less on PAULA
tickets and marijuana possession, the forum would be a good place to
talk about that – suggesting that officers in cars, on bikes and on
foot patrol the streets surrounding the downtown area rather than
having such a large presence on the Ped Mall every evening.
Recently, a friend's wife's mother (over 80 years old, living in Ames)
had her arm and wrist broken by Ames police, who were trying to
restrain her when her medications apparently made her temporarily
delusional. The question could be asked: what training do local
officers receive in dealing with violent persons who are old and
Finally, communication is the key to better relationships. The police
need to know what type of policing the community wants. It isn't fair
to criticize them about not being in touch with community policing
desires if citizens do not give them any feedback.
Green Screen Mystery Solved
by Scout Finch
A lot of RNCC viewers were perplexed last night when McCain appeared from the light of the Obama logo, strolled to the podium, and began his lackluster speech before an enormous green screen. We'd seen that lime green screen before and thought McGrinch had learned his lesson — it was not a good look for McCain and was widely panned by pundits and the public alike. So, why would he choose that hideous background for the biggest speech of his very long political career?
It turns out the green screen was only part of the story. The close-up at the podium made it appear to be a giant green screen, but the arena audience was treated to a much different image. Hat tip to Talking Points Memo for the image:
Aaahhhhhh….much different. McCain standing in front of a grand building, not a green screen. And what building could possibly deserve such a prominent role as the main backdrop of McCain's nomination speech? According to TPM readers, it is Walter Reed. As in Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, California.
Wait, what? Did they mean to have an image of Walter Reed Medical Center? Ouch. If only they were a little better at “the google”, they might have recognized their mistake. Here is the Walter Reed Medical Center:
ABC News says the McCain camp isn't commenting. If they meant for the image to be Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, I'm sure we'd all love to hear why that fine school was selected for such an honor.
Between the lack of vetting on Sarah Palin and the botched presentation this week to the American people, the McCain camp would be well-advised to “do the google” a little more often. Let's hope they have plenty of time to explore the world wide web in November and beyond.
TPM's Kate Klonick just got off the phone with an official at the school who confirmed this. “We didn't know anything about it until it showed up last night,” Cathy McLaughlin, the school's office technician, told Klonick. She confirmed that multiple media outlets have been calling and that a statement would be forthcoming from the school.
There was nothing particular in that stretch of McCain's speech that would explain why this particular image was used.
House Majority Leader's Office
17th Annual I-Renew Energy & Sustainability EXPO
By Mike Carberry
September 13 & 14, 2008
9 to 5 Saturday
10:30 to 4:30 Sunday
At the UNI Center for Energy & Environmental Education, Cedar Falls, IA
Admission: $10 per day, I-Renew members pay no admission.
Memberships available at the door
Featuring renewable energy, energy efficiency, green building, renewable fuels and sustainable living workshops, exhibits and demonstrations
Registrations for attendance open now!
The Iowa Power Fund Board approved a grant to support this years I-Renew Energy & Sustainability Expo. The grant will go towards promoting the event statewide as well as to produce DVDs of 12 of the 70 workshops offered at the event. The Iowa Renewable Energy Association has proven its annual Expo is the place to be to learn about renewable energy and energy efficiency, said Michelle Kenyon Brown, I-Renew Executive Director. The support from the Iowa Power Fund and the Office of Energy Independence will enable us to bring in a larger audience, an audience that is growing everyday as energy costs are hitting everyones pocketbook.
The 17th I-Renew Energy & Sustainability EXPO will be held Sept. 13-14, 2008, at the University of Northern Iowas Center for Energy & Environmental Education (CEEE) in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The EXPO feature 70 workshops, 80 exhibitors, and demonstrations providing information on renewable energy, energy efficiency, green building, renewable fuels, and sustainable living.
'The I-Renew Expo is the largest event of this type in Iowa,' says Kara Beauchamp, I-Renew Board President. This years expo will be the biggest and the best we have ever had. Increasing energy prices have generated more interest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. The I-Renew Expo is the perfect place for people to get their questions answered while having a great time.
The EXPO gives the general public, building contractors, installers and others the opportunity to talk directly with Iowas energy experts to learn new ways to build greener and live greener using renewable energy.
Demonstrations of solar power, wind power, a hydrogen fuel cell, electric cars, cars that run on alternative fuels, and much more will be at the site in and around the CEEE building. The EXPO runs 9 a.m. 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13; and 10:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14. Admission is $10 per day; however, I-Renew members pay no admission. Memberships are available at the door.
For more information or to register, visit www.irenew.org and click on I-Renew EXPO.
The I-Renew Energy & Sustainability Expo is provided with support from our partners: Iowa Office of Energy Independence, Iowa Energy Center, Alliant Energy's Second Nature Program, Cedar Falls Utilities, Waverly Light & Power, Frontier Natural Products Coop, Center for Energy & Environmental Education and many more.
Contact: Michelle Kenyon Brown, Director Iowa Renewable Energy Association
(319) 325-2701 firstname.lastname@example.org
Expo Communications Director
2029 Friendship St.
Iowa City IA 52245
Me thinks Sarah and Cindy hit the Bogo Sale at Payless
By Sam Garchik (photo from Flickr – email@example.com)
Of course, Payless would be out of character for Cindy. But that's a story for another day. Nice speech Grinch. Beats stealing Christmas, does it not?
Mom vs. Grandpa
By Sam Garchik
Has anyone else out there noticed that Sarah Palin looks kind of like your mom? And that Joe Biden looks kind of like Grandpa?
one of you knows that Grandpa's job is to give you stuff that gets you
in trouble: BB Guns, Candy, Chemistry Sets, Rockets, Motorcyles,
Healthcare. Mom's job is to make sure you act wisely: Save Money, Clean
Your Room, Be Home By Midnight.
Here's what I'm thiinking their debate will go like:
(aka Grandpa): You all deserve something fun. You've had a hard day.
Your mom doesn't understand that you need to be rewarded for all of
that. Want some healthcare?
(aka Mom): We can't afford healthcare, grandpa. Why do you always give
the children (American voters) what they want? I work all the time. You
spend my money on garbage. When was the last time they brushed their
Teeth? Brushing? They haven't brushed their teeth because they've been
up all night making environmentally sound energy policies (aka doing
drugs). They wil brush their teeth when they are good and ready. Here,
kids, have some organic, grass feed candy.
They should know better. They need to go to bed. I can't believe your
letting them play around with dangerous weapons of mass destruction.
And those friends of theirs (aka terrorists)? Didn't I tell you not to
let them play with those people? Besides, what happened to all the good
toys I bought at Wal-Mart, the ones made in China?
Those all broke. I bought them new toys, made from sustainable
forrestry products. They last much longer. As soon as eat lunch made
form products which are grown locally and labeled with the country they
came from, we can clean the house with organic cleaning products. That
should make you happy.
Look, I work all the time, and I take care of all of my children. My
husband, who is not here because he is in astronaut traning (besides
being a union member, a oil worker, a fisherman and a snowmobile
racer), will come back and take care of the kids then. Until then, I
want you to know that I expect you, old man, to take care of them.
Me? Im old, I only get social security. My 401k was outsourced to
Dubai. I can't afford to take care of children with high co-pays and
the price of gas being what it is. And the train? I take it every day
to go home, but it's Amtrak, and our government doesn't invest enough
money in public transportation for it to work all the time.
Well, it's not my fault that when mom died the death tax took all your
hard earned monney. I'd love to send them to school, but I can't
because they teach so-called 'science,' there, for heaven's sake. You
know that until we can pass vouchers, im stuck sending my children to
school with non-whites. Lord help us all.
Raising kids isnt that hard. I raised 2 with no mom when I was in the
Senate. That should tell you something about that job. No onder I want
to be Vice President.
You know, I want to be Vice President also. I am young, but so were the
Kennedy's when John F. thought abour running for Vice -President in
Biden: Governor, I knew Jackie Kennedy. I served with Jackie Kennedy. And let me tell you, you're no Jackie Kennedy.